Healthy Living

Autism: Getting a Handle on Suicide

Why do these traits have a link to suicidal thoughts?

Research indicates that the more a patient experiences some of these traits, the more likely he or she is to have suicidal thoughts. There are several different theories as to why this may be the case. First, social and communication difficulties could be a major factor in prompting an individual to experience suicidal thoughts because these barriers leave many individuals feeling isolated. If that isolation is paired with a bout of depression, either due to a chemical imbalance or external factors such as the loss of a loved one, it can leave an individual feeling both powerless and alone. This is a potent mixture that’s worsened when an individual doesn’t know how to communicate their emotional experience and reach out for help. Additionally, researchers found that autistic individuals are more likely to feel burdensome because of their condition. Similar to isolation, when an individual feels like a burden he or she is more likely to experience depression as well as a sense of powerlessness.